Published in the Antigonish Casket weekly newspaper – August 2014
More on the book: http://book2look.com/vBook.aspx?id=GM64isQQ11
Published in the Antigonish Casket weekly newspaper – August 2014
More on the book: http://book2look.com/vBook.aspx?id=GM64isQQ11
Melissa Studdard is an Award winning author,” Editor of Criterion, Professor of English Literature, Radio Show Host Tiferet Talk Interviews. This is what she had to say:
“A thrilling adventure spanning four centuries, Ian Prattis’ Trailing Sky Six Feathers: One Man’s Journey with His Muse renders nothing less than a complete transformation of karma. In addition to weaving a narrative that will captivate readers from the first page to the last, Prattis tells a story of depth and substance, one that, through example, has the potential to activate healing and promote understanding. This is the story of determination, of humanity’s true nature and greatest potential, of how we can live in harmony.”
The BLUE INK REVIEW is the authoritative voice of the Indie publishing industry. Here are some excerpts from their review of the book.
“In this spiritual exploration, a highly educated man becomes a humble seeker, works
painstakingly through the events of two fascinating lifetimes, and emerges with a
message for humankind.
Prattis, whose childhood was marred by sexual abuse, set out to comprehend his
present life through his study of religious beliefs of indigenous peoples. This led him to
encounters with several contemporary Native American sages who forced him to drop
his intellectual approach and accept his lustrous spiritual experiences as real, not
dreams or self-induced visions. The merging of the parallel spirit world of Native
American religion into his current incarnation put many disparate elements of his life in
perspective and facilitated his reunion with Trailing Sky Six Feathers, “the greatest
medicine woman the Southwest has ever known.”
Though this fantastic tale leaves room for skepticism, most who read Prattis’ latest work
will be swept up in this saga of self-examination, revelation, and indeed, exhilarating
global adventure. Prattis writes with erudition, charm and humor, ridiculing his own
blunders as much as he praises his teachers. Prattis presents a unique viewpoint hewn from hard-won
exploration of traditional wisdom, offering all of us the overarching advice to “awaken
spiritually” so that we may “create a stable economy and way of life” and save Mother
We seem to be waiting for a Mandela, MLK or Ghandi to step up and lead, whereas it is up to you, up to me to step up. The Hopi Prophecy from 2000 nails it correctly!
Hopi Elders’ Prophecy, June 8, 2000
“You have been telling people that this is the Eleventh Hour, now you must go back and tell the people that this is the Hour. And there are things to be considered.
Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in the right relationship?
Where is your water?
Know your garden.
It is time to speak your truth.
Create your community.
Be good to one another.
And do not look outside yourself for your leader.
Then he clasped his hands together, smiled and said, “This could be a good time! There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart and will suffer greatly. Know the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open and our heads above water.
And I say, see who is there with you and celebrate. At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally, least of all ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey come to a halt.
The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves! Banish the word “struggle” from your attitude and your vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.
We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.
Our industrial growth civilization is a system devouring itself; dislocating the organic structures of Mother Earth to the point that all species – not just our own – are at risk. It has taken us to the edge of a dangerous precipice. From there we stare into the abyss of climate change, ecosystem and financial collapse, nuclear energy breakdown, resource wars, cyberbullying, terrorism and anarchy.
These issues are making civilization vulnerable to extinction. I believe that our culture needs to awaken spiritually in order to ensure survival. Our world has become an unpredictable beast that we fail to work with intelligently. We have to take back control of ourselves and this is a spiritual matter.” My new book “Trailing Sky Six Feathers” illuminates issues that will impact the human race for generations. The book follows my spiritual journey as I travel across the globe throughout the course of two lifetimes.
The darkness before us does offer an opportunity, a chance to remake ourselves by transforming our minds. Instead of being eaten up by the abyss we can choose to Awaken Spiritually, for that transforms the one thing we can control – our minds. It often seems that we are waiting for someone to step up for us – a Mandela, Ghandi or Martin Luther King. But they are dead and gone. So it is up to you, up to me to step up and awaken spiritually. That’s what my book – Trailing Sky Six Feathers is about – though I was indeed very slow over four centuries to accept what I have just intimated.
There are two main characters that open the book in 18th century Arizona– Trailing Sky Six Feathers and Eagle Speaker. When the reader encounters Trailing Sky Six Feathers, my muse from the past, they encounter a powerful, relentless woman who transforms my life in reality in the 21st century, not in historical fiction. She has been described as one of the most powerful women in modern Canadian Literature. Eagle Speaker is her husband and also my transformation vehicle. He dies cradled in her arms in a medicine wheel in the year 1777. As he takes his last breath Trailing Sky whispers to him:
“I will find you my husband, I will find you.”
KEY POINTS IN THE STORY
– HERO’S JOURNEY OVER FOUR CENTURIES
– PLANETARY CARE – 18TH CENTURY RENEWAL, 21ST CENTURY ACTIVISM
– EARTH WISDOM OF THE ELDERS/ SHAMANIC HEALING
– FUTURE GENERATIONS
– GURU TRAINING IN INDIA/ NDE/TRANSFORMATION
– REMEMBERING; PAST LIFE COLLIDING WITH PRESENT LIFE/ RESISTANCE
– TRANSFORMATION OF KARMA/CONSCIOUSNESS
– VERY DIFFERENT KIND OF LOVE STORY THRO CENTURIES – not a Harlequin Romance!
This exciting Hero’s Journey is like Indiana Jones meets the Buddha with a dash of Celestine Prophecy. The story told shines light on the darkest elements of the human condition, including my own. This challenging journey has me stumbling through the first part of life, then standing strong in my own sovereignty in the latter part. In this book I navigate past and present life experiences from brutal raids on Indian settlements in 18th century Arizona, insane sea voyages off the Scottish Hebrides in the 20th century to surrender to The Muse in the 21st century. These
We follow my journey to accept The Muse capable of transforming karma from violence and abuse to clarity and purpose. Readers will travel the pages as I learn to embrace The Muse, Trailing Sky Six Feathers, a South Western Native American wife and medicine woman in whose arms I died in 1777. She vows to find me to complete my purpose despite resistance from my highly intellectual mind in this lifetime.
My severe and challenging journey includes shamanic healings of childhood sexual abuse, guru training as well as a near death experience in an ashram in India. Trailing Sky Six Feathers initiates a dream vision in 2008 that caps my slow process of remembering a clear mosaic of experience stretching back in time two hundred and thirty one years. Over a period of thirty years, four extraordinary medicine people enhance my process of remembering, while Trailing Sky waits patiently from the distant past. I learn how to reconfigure my understanding of time, place, consciousness and Carl Jung’s psychology. I chose to listen to the feminine voice of Earth Wisdom rather than to the multitude of competing voices in my deep unconscious. Past life memories collide head on with the present, all thanks to the persistence of Trailing Sky Six Feathers, the Muse who refused to give up. Karma is reversed, the internal battles are over as I begin to live life as a Meditation for Gaia. The relentless shadowing by this engaging Muse brings understanding not only to me, but to anyone engaged in overcoming the darkness of their past. This book caps my long-term fascination with consciousness.
In the next blog I will draw on a recent sterling Review of this work.
Last blog I began to tell you about my motivation in writing my new book, “Trailing Sky Six Feathers.” I mentioned there were certain groups of people I had in mind during the writing process, and here they are:
Men and Feminists
In Chapter Six: Rainbow Bridge Calling, I spend time exploring maps of Central Arizona to acquaint myself with the region’s ambience. I saw that Oak Creek ran through the Red Rock country of Sedona like a thread – drawing the canyons together. My exploration began with this Water element. This was one component of the Five Great Elements in Buddhist, Taoist and Native American belief – Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Space. I understood the sequence as the correspondence of all things to each other driven by the feminine vessel of enlightenment. I have always thought of the present millennium as the century of the daughters. Not so much as a gender separate thing, but as attributes of a holistic, nurturing presence of mind. The feminine principle is the creator of all matter including the five elements and ourselves. This is why I began my exploration of the region with Water. Oak Creek was fed by spring water from the sacred canyons and she carried their unique energies in one stream. The foundation of the book is the feminine principle with a strong, powerful female character whose task is that of tutoring male stubbornness to surrender to the Muse.
This book will be sought out by men who acknowledge the feminine principle as a staple foundation of their masculinity. The story of my resistance, then final surrender, to The Muse will strike a chord within most men and provide encouragement for their persistent engagement with the internal feminine. Feminists will applaud and readily endorse such a book. The strong characters in the book are all women and the book revolves around the difficulties for men of engaging with the internal feminine principle. The testosterone ended drive of modern society raises the prospect of our species going over the cliff into the abyss. Trailing Sky Six Feathers moves the pendulum the other way to create a balance.
In Chapter Seven: The Compass Changes, my point was that in every mind there is a Failsafe that would activate when matters grew so bad that moving to a new mindset would be inevitable. I argued that the notion of innate earth wisdom, when combined with tipping points in the mind and counter culture, would be sufficient to change our collective mentality in the direction of better earth stewardship and a new spiritual paradigm. On the flip side, I am very aware of the cascading collapse of the world’s eco-systems. That our overpopulated, technologically based civilization may not adapt to a fast changing future without wrecking the environment. If we wreck the environment we are toast. I knew to look for the means to shift our mind set. I replaced the question: “Can we fix the planet?” with a deeper question: “How do we fix ourselves?” I recognized that the modern era transition from “Reverential” to “Referential” with respect to the earth had to be reversed, pointing out that our technical and economic institutions were outstripping our basic humanity.
Planetary care is woven into this book in both the 18th and 21st centuries. The Wisdom of the Elders about the spiritual connection of humans with the Earth Mother provides the template for renewal in the first three chapters. That template is taken into the 21st century with my activism for planetary care through the Friends for Peace organization I established and write about in later chapters. This consistent address of environmental issues directly appeals to the growing environmental movement that Global Warming and Climate Change has catalyzed in the 21st century.
The Younger Generation
Also in Chapter Seven: The Compass Changes, I write about my last ecology class before retiring from Carleton University in 2007. Students encouraged me to get belligerent about Climate Change and its consequences. I enlisted their brilliance and diligence with a collective focus on eco-communities – from rural communities to urban condos – and promised to get testy. This adventure into the pre-conditions for eco-communities, however, had a much bigger intent. It reflected the particular shift in mindset required to salvage the global ecosystem for human habitation. Wherever we are located on the planet – it is essential to conduct ourselves as being part of a global eco-community. Our mindset has to be focused on the reality of living as one component of Gaia’s ecosystem. An edited collection emerged from the enthusiasm, insights and sheer hard work of these students.
This mentoring exercise with brilliant ecology students produced an excellent volume, which contributed to the 2011 Earth Day Environmental Award I received at the Canadian Museum of Civilization. The highlight for me, however, was not the award. It was that the majority of students in this class chose to work as environmentalists in different sectors of the Canadian economy. They cared as much as I did and that was deeply fulfilling.
When I look at the younger generation emerging into maturity, I see beyond the ipods, electronic gadgetry and attitude to the deep intelligence that yearns for something better. I love their in-your-face attitude, as that is the energy of determination that will drive them to put things into balance on the planet. They are not caught so readily by the identities and trade-offs that my generation is so good at entertaining. They are breaking down the barriers of discrimination, storming the barricades of separation. I have only one thing to ask of them. That they slow down for a moment and hold out their hand. For as long as I have a spark in this mind and breath in this body I say to them: “Wait for me, because I am going with you.”
Young people just need to be presented with an opportunity for a way forward and the bell to step up. This book provides both. I can guarantee that Generation X and Y will respond.
Until next time…
When I talk to folk about Trailing Sky Six Feathers: One Man’s Journey With His Muse the first question is usually “Why did you write this?” Here is what I reply:
Global citizens are staring into the abyss–yet instead of being eaten up by it all, I say to them: “Awaken Spiritually,” for that transforms everything. We have made our world an unpredictable beast because we fail to work with it intelligently. Rumi’s wise words are cogent: “Sit down and be quiet. You are drunk and this is the edge of the roof.” We have to take back control of ourselves and this is a spiritual matter. Turning on the switch of awakening seems to be a good idea right now. We just need to touch the sacred in ordinary experiences of life to find the courage and determination to transform.
I am writing Trailing Sky Six Feathers to shed light on issues that will affect our world for generations to come. The example of my own challenging journey and personal transformation illuminates a path for others to expand their consciousness and chart the course for a future beyond the abyss. The human race does not need to be stuck with maladaptive options and patterns. We can and must transform. The key to change this deep freeze is Awakening, a spiritual relationship with self and Mother Earth.
Who would be interested? There are four audiences I would like to reach with this work.
The Main Audience: Spiritual Seekers
I like to consider Trailing Sky Six Feathers the real life version of James Redfield’s best-selling fictional book The Celestine Prophecy. I have nine chapters, loaded with Insights and adventure. Trailing Sky Six Feathers is drawn from my actual lived experience. Reality based information is in high demand in today’s society, which provides the potential for this project to become a fresh, new icon for today’s hungry culture. Hungry, that is, for authentic transformation.
Trailing Sky Six Feathers delivers a vigorous message about personal transformation in order to become different stewards of the earth and society. Extensive shamanic training is highlighted, as it was the instrument to overcome my childhood sexual abuse. The journey of remembering childhood wounds and past lives will draw in people searching for interior solutions. In Trailing Sky Six Feathers I show that we can transform the damage and limitations of the past and step onto a path of enlightenment for all who suffer from road blocks in the mind. People around the world are overwhelmed by distraction, fear, suffering and violence – all of which keeps them frozen in a state of inaction – deeply wounded and unable to make changes within themselves and for the planet. The inner journey that occupies this book demonstrates that we do not have to be caught by our suffering, fear and maladaptive responses to Global Warming and Violence. We can take steady steps with wise mentors to break free of the chains and liberate ourselves.
The book will also attract the attention of people interested in Shamanism, Jung, Religion, New Age, Alternative Medicine, Meditation, Consciousness, Buddhism, India, Native American Culture and Wisdom of the Elders. The Sky People who mentored Trailing Sky in medicine lore will certainly pique the interest of Trekkies, given this extra-terrestrial component of the book. Ever since the Star Trek series captured the public imagination with time/space crossovers – there is an intense interest in how past realms and dimensions impact our present reality. That is the very fabric of Trailing Sky Six Feathers and it will appeal to the large Trekkie population who may be surprised that the adventure can happen without science fiction.
There are three other groups of people I wrote my book for. Come back next week to find out!
Hollywood Treatment Date: 7/14/14. I was stunned to receive this document. The screenwriter had seen deeply into the work and took it up a level. The cinematic vision was incredible and wove the cinematic expression into something more than the writing permitted. I was humbled and inspired by the craft.
Title: Trailing Sky Six Feathers
Author: Ian Prattis
Treatment By: R.J. Welch
Trailing Sky Six Feathers by Ian Prattis is the tremendous story of Ian’s modern day spiritual awakening and discovery of his past life as Native American Eagle Speaker during the 18th century. Only through the intervention of his spirit wife Trailing Sky is Ian able to defeat his past vices and personal struggles to become the man he is today.
It’s important to recognize the film adaptation will be “based on true events” and not a documentary or biopic. The novel’s incredible scope of events – from the 18th century Indian struggles to contemporary political movements – is fertile territory for great drama and will be adjusted and adapted to best serve the themes of the novel while creating a gripping film.
With all novel adaptations, it’s important to focus on creating a compelling beginning, middle and end that can be captured in two hours of screen time. The film treatment will condense the novel’s amazing depth of detail, life stories and lessons about politics, anima, Gaia, Buddhism, and much more to create a linear filmic narrative.
In the novel, the first chapters set in the 18th century will now be interspersed throughout the rest of the narrative, mirroring challenges Ian faces, culminating in his death in the 18th century and his discovery of his true self and relationship with Trailing Sky in the modern day.
Additionally, like other real life film adaptations, characters and events will be condensed, combined or expanded to serve the narrative of the story. The Native American sequences will be expanded considerably while Ian’s contemporary life will be streamlined to highlight certain important events.
Overall, Trailing Sky Six Feathers by Ian Prattis can be an excellent and exciting film with a unique Native American spiritual angle rarely seen on screen.
A Canadian professor struggles with the realization his life is guided by the spirit of his dead Native American wife.
ENGLISH COAST — IAN PRATTIS, mid 30’s, takes a swig of beer as he steers a BOAT
off the coast. With him are his two young children IAIN and ALEXANDER and his WIFE. Other PASSENGERS are with them, Ian is giving a boat tour of the bay.
His wife says they should head back to shore, the weather is getting bad. But Ian isn’t in the mood to hear it, he wants to stay out longer, tempting fate, pushing his wife away because he’s drunk and hates being told what to do.
The SHORE radios over, saying a storm is coming. Ian sees CLOUDS forming on the horizon, FLASHES of lightning and –
Cut to the Great Plains of America, the 1800s. And a Native American Village complete with tents and horses. TRAILING SKY, a beautiful woman, sits with her husband, the strong and stoic EAGLE SPEAKER outside of their lodging. Trailing Sky breaks out of a trance — she says a storm is coming. She has had a vision of violence and destruction. She doesn’t understand it, only that they must pack up immediately if they’re going to survive.
Back with Ian on the boat, the STORM hits them hard, waves crashing over the bow. Ian knows he’s made a terrible mistake. The radio chirps to life, the MAN on the other end saying they’re going to be in for a rough ride. At the shore, they turn on all the house lights, one by one, to help the distressed boat find its way. Ian hears that there’s only one path that they can use to get back to the safety of the bay. But it’s surrounded by rocks. If Ian can’t navigate perfectly, they’ll all die. Ian looks at his wife and children and prays for help.
With Trailing Sky, she awakens from a trance – her husband says they’re under attack! APACHE WARRIORS are burning the village, killing the men and kidnapping the women. Trailing Sky, praying to her sky gods and ancestors for strength, goes into a trance, says she’ll save her husband.
Ian on the boat hears the voice of Trailing Sky saying “I’ll guide us to safety” – he looks around, but doesn’t understand it. Is he going crazy?
But he steers the boat forward, as if possessed, and navigates through huge rocks and hidden shoals to safety. They arrive at the dock and the VILLAGERS are there, saying it’s a miracle. Ian docks the boat and everyone departs thankful to be alive. Alone on the boat, Ian looks around – who was that woman who spoke to him?
Back to the attack, Trailing Sky and Eagle Speaker, as if guided by a magic hand, are able to sneak past the attacking Apaches, ducking behind bushes and rocks until they’re out of the encampment.
Eagle Speaker asks her how she did that. She says it’s the power of their ancestors and the medicine woman strength. She felt as if she was guiding her husband to safety, but through a watery world. She doesn’t know why she sees this, only that she knew if she didn’t save him from the crashing waves, she’d have lost him forever.
Now safe on a bluff, they look back on their village and see families escaping, apaches chasing them down. The village is burning. Their only path is forward into the unknown wilderness.
Ian finds himself in a bar celebrating his brilliant sailing skills. The BARTENDER lines up a dozen shots for him. Ian downs them all, but confesses he was stupid, getting caught in the storm was his fault. And he’s not some brilliant sailor, something happened he doesn’t understand. Regardless, he decides to drown his questions is whiskey.
He arrives home drunk to find his wife waiting for him. His two sons are asleep. But she says it’s over, she knows he nearly killed them all. She’s leaving him. He needs to clean up his act, otherwise he’ll drink himself to death. She says he needs a new beginning and he knows she’s right.
Trailing Sky and Eagle Speaker arrive at a cave in the mountains. Trailing Sky says the spirits have guided them here and this is where they’ll make their new beginning. Eagle Speaker says he trusts his wife’s spiritual powers.
Ian arrives in Ottawa, Canada with nothing but a solitary suitcase and an invite to the university. Cut to Ian teaching a night class, but his heart isn’t into it. It’s a new beginning, but is this really where he belongs? He says to himself he needs a sign.
After class, he leaves the university and sees a bar. He wants to go in but he hears a VOICE, female, telling him to go a different direction.
Back with Trailing Sky, she awakens from a trance – she’s panicked, Eagle Speaker is in danger! Cut to Eagle Speaker hunting a deer. He sneaks through the brush after the deer, but doesn’t see three APACHE SCOUTS hunting him.
An apache raises his bow to fire but – thwack – the apache is killed, an arrow sticking out of his neck. Eagle Speaker looks up and sees Trailing Sky holding the bow. She aims as the other two apaches attack Eagle Speaker. She fires, killing the second apache, and Eagle Speaker uses his axe to fight the last apache, killing him.
After the battle, Eagle Speaker asks how Trailing Sky knew he was in danger. She says the spirits spoke to her. But there’s dangers out there greater than the apache. He must be guided in the right way to find true happiness.
Ian follows the haunting female voice through the forest until he comes to a lodge. There’s chanting and firelight shining through the doorway. He goes inside and finds SPIRITUAL ELDERS holding a ceremony.
Ian hangs back, watching the amazing rituals. One older WOMAN in particular draws his attention. This is WHITE EAGLE WOMAN. Ian is lost in the dancing fire light and chanting, FLASHES of Trailing Sky and Eagle Speaker taking over his mind. He makes eye contact with the woman before he passes out.
Back at the cave, Eagle Speaker and Trailing Sky see a WOMAN approaching. They recognize her outfit, know she’s one of their neighboring clans. They greet her and she says her name is LONG WILLOW. Her family was killed by the apaches, but she’s had a vision she must help the man who speaks with eagles to build a new village.
Trailing Sky says she had a vision Long Willow would join them. The man who speaks with eagles is Eagle Speaker. Willow says she will help him on his journey.
Ian awakes to find White Eagle Woman kneeling over him. It’s morning and Ian passed out on the floor of the lodge. She helps him to his feet and leads him outside where they find a golden eagle flying high above, circling them. White Eagle Woman says she’s never seen a golden eagle do that, it’s a sign. Who is he to receive such a powerful sign? He says he’s just a professor and has no idea how he got to the lodge last night.
White Eagle Woman says he needs to open his mind to the ancient spirits. He says he doesn’t like the voices, they’re bizarre, and it’s beyond his understanding. She says that a golden eagle has spoken to him, he’s chosen for great things.
The Native Americans leave their cave behind and start on their journey to the river encampment where they hope they’ll find more of their people. Long Willow says she’ll stay with Trailing Sky and Eagle Speaker forever, she won’t remarry, their goal is too important for her to start a new family. They accept her into their family as they trek onto the open plain.
Meanwhile, Ian is told by White Eagle Woman he needs to go on a self-discovery journey. It’ll be hard, but it’ll help connect him with the spirits he’s been hearing. He meets RISHI PRABHAKAR, a mystic, who invites him to India.
Cut to Ian arriving in India. Ian takes cabs through CROWDS of people to a shrine. There, he finds HUNDREDS of people have come to experience awakenings. Ian talks with Rishi and learns of his customs and how to awaken his inner spirits.
Back with Trailing Sky, she leads them over a bluff to see FAMILIES setting up camp near a river. They recognize the families, these are survivors from the apache attacks. They sit together and thank their ancestors for bringing them together again.
But Trailing Sky has a vision – sickness is coming, she worries her powers won’t be able to save Eagle Speaker.
With Ian, he’s become sick. He worries he’s going to die and receives phone calls from his friends, this could be it for him. But Rishi says this is only an awakening. Rishi does a ceremony and Ian falls into a dream state.
In the dream state, Ian sees Trailing Sky who lays her hand on his cheek. The sickness immediately fades away. Ian asks who she is, but she says he’s not ready to know because he’s not ready to believe. She disappears as he wakes up to find the sickness has lifted. Rishi recognizes that Ian has had a profound experience but Ian still doesn’t know what all this means. Ian returns home and meets with White Eagle Woman to meditate on these developments.
Meanwhile, Trailing Sky and Eagle Speaker have set up their new home at the river village. Around the great fire, the families speak of starting a better society, one where they can protect against the apache. Eagle Speaker is angry about the apache, wants to go on the offensive and kill them all.
But Trailing Sky says he needs to let go of his anger. There are demons inside of him that have tormented him. Until he can overcome his demons, he’ll never be the great leader he’s destined to be.
Back with Ian, White Eagle Woman does a ceremony to unlock the demons sealed inside him. In a dream state, Ian is visited by his dead AUNT who reveals Ian was molested as a boy by a relative. She apologizes for not stopping it before, knows Ian buried this knowledge deep down. It was an attack, a violation, one that can never be undone.
But if Ian doesn’t let go of the hate, he’ll never be able to discover his true self and move on. Ian awakens and tells White Eagle Woman what happened. She says he’s moving closer and says he needs to go on a solitary retreat. There, he will meet his next guide.
Ian drives into the Canadian Rockies, well beyond civilization, to a cabin. There, Ian meditates, looking out over the great expanse of forest. A medicine circle sits outside the cabin. The circle calls to him, it’s powerful, ancient power is enshrined here.
Ian closes his eyes but when he opens them again, a TIMBER WOLF has appeared. Ian stands, scared of the creature. But the wolf comes to him and licks his hand. Ian then gives the wolf an offering of food, which the wolf accepts. The wolf then paces around the cabin, motioning for Ian to follow him. Ian goes into the forest and —
Cut to Trailing Sky and Eagle Speaker run through the forest, Trailing Sky ahead of her husband. They’re having fun, a moment of levity.
With Ian, he runs with the wolf through the forest. The wolf leads him over streams and up rock paths.
Back with Trailing Sky and Eagle Speaker, they embrace and fall into a soft patch of grass and begin making love.
Ian and the wolf finally reach a rock outcropping high above the forest line. Ian sits, looks out over the incredible view, untouched by man. He has quick visions of Trailing Sky and Eagle Speaker making love. He cries, the moment so pure and beautiful.
Later, the wolf rides in the back of Ian’s car as he returns to his home. Ian stops at a restaurant to get food and meets CAROLYN who takes an immediate interest in the wolf. He tells her the truth about meeting the wolf. He thinks she’s going to think he’s crazy, but she believes him. She holds her hand out to the wolf who licks her, approving of this new woman. Ian can’t help but take it as a sign.
Cut to Carolyn moving in with Ian. Ian is surprised by his son Iain, now an adult, has come to live in Canada. His son tells him that his other son Alexander is in a bad way in Glasgow, Scotland. Ian knows he must do something otherwise he’ll lose Alexander.
Meanwhile, Trailing Sky and Eagle Speaker welcome their DAUGHTER into the world. They hold a ceremony to the now HUNDREDS of members of their new society. Eagle Speaker has been elected the leader. As they burn offerings to the spirits to welcome in their daughter, they receive news from a SCOUT – the apaches are preparing for war.
Ian lands in Scotland and goes to find his son. ALEXANDER, early 20’s, is living at a place called the “Punk Palace” – a home filled with DRUG DEALERS, burned out MUSICIANS and more. Ian finds his son has been beaten up and is in a really bad way. Worse, Alexander owes drug dealers money or he’s going to get killed.
Back with Trailing Sky, she and Long Willow train WOMEN how to fight. The women are determined to defend their homes and families. Eagle Speaker works with the men to prepare a strategy against the apache invaders. It’s going to be a bloody battle.
Ian says he’ll pay off Alexander’s debts if his son joins him in meditation. They go on a walk and learn walking meditation, practicing their breathing. Then, they jump a fence into a private park and meditate together, father and son. Alexander is coming around, the drug withdrawal eased by the meditation. But Ian has a vision of APACHE WARRIORS.
The apache warriors approach the river settlement. Like last time, they think the village will be an easy victory. They see weak men, children and women for the taking.
But as they rush the village, Trailing Sky leads an attack – arrows fly out of the trees and kill scores of apaches. Eagle Speaker leads hand-to-hand fighting against the apaches. One apache is able to get into the village and grabs a woman, only to find the woman has a knife and stabs him to death.
Meanwhile, Ian and Alexander finish their meditation and return to the Punk Palace. There, DRUG DEALERS are waiting for Alexander. And this time they’re going to do more than beat him up.
Ian sits with the dealers and offers to pay Alexander’s debts. Moreover, Ian wants to make sure the drug dealers never come after his son again. The thugs don’t like being told what to do, but Ian’s genuine conviction convinces them to let Alexander move on.
Back with Eagle Speaker, he walks over the dead bodies of defeated apaches. The APACHE LEADER meets with Eagle Speaker. The apache thinks he’s going to be killed, but Eagle Speaker shows him compassion. He says the apache aren’t welcome here unless they come to trade. If they want war, Eagle Speaker’s people will defeat them again and again. The apache agrees to peace and leaves.
Ian bids farewell to Alexander who is on his path to recovery. Alexander says he’s going to keep meditating and he’s done with drugs forever. Ian is glad he’s finally been able to connect with his son, the guilt of being a distant father in the grip of alcohol has been weighing on him. But now, he sees Alexander is going to turn out just fine.
Later, Eagle Speaker celebrates with Trailing Sky and the rest of the village. They’ve secured their peace in the world. But Trailing Sky is worried, she’s had spirit visions and something bad is coming for Eagle Speaker.
Meanwhile, Ian and Carolyn are on a journey to Arizona. Ian has had a vision of something important in the Arizona desert he must discover. Ian doesn’t know what he’s looking for, but he and Carolyn get in a rental car and start driving.
Eagle Speaker tells Trailing Sky he must go on his own journey now. Eagle Speaker gets on his horse and leaves Trailing Sky behind.
Ian and Carolyn arrive at a national monument called Rainbow Bridge. The bridge is a natural rock formation hundreds of feet high spanning a river. All alone at the bridge, Ian and Carolyn walk towards the formation. Ian reaches out and touches the rock and receives a shock –
Eagle Speaker rides until he sees EUROPEAN SETTLERS in a wagon train. He’s curious about these people, rides up close. At the same time, Trailing Sky awakens from a vision. She knows Eagle Speaker is in danger. She gets on her horse and rides off.
Ian now climbs up on the bridge as the sky darkens and a thunderstorm begins, raining hail down on them.
Eagle Speaker looks to the sky and sees storm clouds. At his feet is a European blanket. He picks it up and it begins to hail. Eagle Speaker COUGHS —
Carolyn calls out to Ian, they need to leave! But Ian is in a trance. The hail falls in a perfect circle around him.
Trailing Sky rides as fast as she can and sees the Rainbow Bridge before her.
Ian looks up and sees the vision of Trailing Sky walking towards him on the bridge. He reaches out his hand and, as he does, he’s superimposed over the body of Eagle Speaker, dying on the bridge.
Eagle Speaker says he’s sick and dying rapidly. Trailing Sky says she can call on the spirits to heal him, but he says his mission in life is complete, he’s found a home for their people and defended them against the Apaches.
Trailing Sky cries as Eagle Speaker’s life fades away. But she says, “I will find you, my husband. I will find you,” as he dies. He says he knows she will and closes his eyes.
Ian awakens to find the hail storm has ended. And before him is Trailing Sky, like a spiritual vision. She says she’s found her husband again and she’s been with Ian for his whole life, watching over him and protecting him.
Trailing Sky takes Ian’s hand. This is a union over two hundred years in the making. Finally, she says, she can be with Eagle Speaker forever, now reincarnated as Ian. Trailing Sky turns into a BEAM OF LIGHT and enters Ian, as if his soul and the soul of Trailing Sky combine inside of him.
Later, Ian walks down the Rainbow Bridge. Carolyn is glowing and understands completely as Ian takes her hand, the circle is complete. They walk away framed by the sun shining through the majestic arch of the Rainbow Bridge.
Indiana Jones meets The Buddha
Memoir of spiritual exploration calls for self-discovery and conservation
OTTAWA, ONTARIO – Are social issues such as climate change, financial collapse and nuclear technology making civilization vulnerable to extinction? Professor, scholar and world traveler, Ian Prattis believes that our culture needs to awaken spiritually in order to ensure survival.
“Our world has become an unpredictable beast that we fail to work with intelligently,” Prattis said. “We have to take back control of ourselves and this is a spiritual matter.”
Prattis’ new book “Trailing Sky Six Feathers” illuminates issues that he believes will impact the human race for generations. The book follows him on his spiritual journey as he travels across the globe throughout the course of two lifetimes.
“Trailing Sky Six Feathers caps my long-term fascination with consciousness,” Prattis said. “My past life memories are now allowed to collide head on with the present.”
Please visit http://www.ianprattis.com for more information.
“Trailing Sky Six Feathers”
By Ian Prattis
Available at: Amazon, Xlibris and Barnes and Noble online bookstores
About the Author
Ian Prattis is a poet, Professor Emeritus, founder of Friends for Peace and a spiritual warrior for planetary care and social justice. Ian now lives with his wife Carolyn in the west end of Ottawa where the Pine Gate Meditation Hall is located in the lower level of their home. Since retiring from Carleton University in 2007, he has authored four books on dharma, two on the environment, a novel and this legend/autobiographical combo and enjoys the freedom to create at his own pace. He has yet to discern the ordinary meaning of retirement.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**
EDITORS: For review copies or interview requests, contact:
Ryan Simpson | 317-275-2057 | firstname.lastname@example.org
(When requesting a review copy, please provide street address.)
When a friend asks – “How are you?” – we tend to automatically reach for a standard descriptor such as “Fine”; “Not Too bad” or “Could Be Worse.” Our automatic pilot rarely delivers uplifting, generous responses. Something obstructs us from replying “I am splendid” or “I am feeling absolutely marvellous.” If we should make such an extraordinary response, we would not really believe it. A serious problem exists that requires investigation. Let me begin by breaking “Fine” down into an acronym:
F – Freaked out
I – Insecure
N – Neurotic
E – Elsewhere.
It is possible to choose other somewhat depressing terms, though I choose the Buddha’s Four Clay Pots metaphor as a starting point for this investigation.
The Buddha categorized his listeners into four different kinds of clay vessels. The first clay pot has holes at the bottom, so whatever is poured into it goes right through the bottom into the ground. No matter what wise skilful teaching or practice is offered to clay pot person number one, absolutely nothing is retained. The second clay pot is one that has many cracks in it. If water is poured in, it all eventually seeps out. The teachings may be retained for a short while, yet sooner or later they are completely forgotten. The third clay pot is one that is completely full. Water cannot be poured into it because it is already full to the brim. A person with characteristics of this vessel is so full of views, self-righteousness and wrong perceptions that they cannot be taught anything about the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Then there is the fourth clay pot – an empty vessel without holes or cracks, empty of views and attitudes. We may recognize that at different times we occupy one or another of the first three pots and thus strive to move to pot number four. How can we do this?
To be completely empty of a separate self, as the fourth clay pot, is what our mindfulness practice leads to. On the way there we are bound to have views and attitudes, but may be significantly empty enough to take in the teachings and practices that can move us along the path of awakening. Step by step we let go of clinging and attachment to views and re-build our minds so that equanimity and peacefulness arise. We discover that the art of Being Present is what all of the Buddha’s teachings, practices and trainings lead to. From this vast tool kit of transformation we then use intelligent awareness to work with strong emotions and let go of all clinging and their damaging consequences. The trio of Mindfulness, Concentration and Insight become our best friend, as we step into freedom from brainwashing. I touch base with the Shambhala Warrior training to address the matter of “Being Splendid.”
What does it take before we can relax into our inherent goodness and be authentically “Splendid”? In the teachings brought to the west by Chogyam Trungpa there is a strong emphasis on Shambhala warrior training. The fifth and final level is the sense of splendidness. It is preceded by four interconnected levels:
1. Being free of deception by recognizing afflictive emotions and discerning habit energies.
2. Truly entering the freedom of being present in each moment.
3. Embracing the vision of sacredness of ourselves and the world.
4. Bringing mind and body together because we are grounded and in harmony with the world around us. (Sakyong Mipham, 2011, Shambhala Sun, November 2011)
In the fifth level, building on these prior steps, we attain confidence in our inherent goodness and simply radiate the energy of splendidness. This visceral sense of unyielding trust in our inherent goodness, of being splendid, enables us to become spiritual hubs and beacons of an extraordinary nature. All the great spiritual masters had this sense and shared it without deception or ego. This power of transformation comes from a place of steady well-being, strength and confidence in our ability to be brilliant and to shine in the face of any adversity. Linji refers to this phenomenon as being rooted in our own sovereignty as Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us in his excellent account of Master Linji in Nothing to Do, Nowhere To Go – Parallax, 2007. Sakyong Mipham rounds out the sense of being splendid through his emphasis on being present in everything we do, choosing to no longer hide behind habitual patterns and old memory tapes. A lack of splendidness simply attracts sorry-ass individuals to ourselves and they become complicit with our hiding patterns. It makes better sense to have the lucidity to train ourselves to be splendid rather than close down and hide.
The July opening at Pine Gate Mindfulness Community in Ottawa on Thursday July 3 is a shamanic healing journey. Appendix 1 of my new book Trailing Sky Six Feathers: One Man’s Journey with His Muse gives a description and background.
Appendix I: Shamanic Journey
From my intensive training with White Eagle Woman and Dawson I carefully put together a shamanic journey suitable for non-Natives. This was part of White Eagle Woman’s intent in teaching me, so her knowledge could be passed on to a wider audience. I based the healing ceremony on considerations of safety, sacredness and responsibility, and drew from two traditions that I had extensive experience with, shamanism and Buddhist meditation practices. I begin the healing ceremony with conscious breathing, so that everybody’s awareness becomes attached to in-breath and to out-breath. I emphasize the circle motif during the opening symbol of external purification where individuals gather in a circle. Burning sage is smudged over each person in a clockwise direction. During this opening process sacred Native American flute music is played softly, as people gather for the ceremony. I always encourage participants to validate their experiences from their own internal recognitions. This can be discussed and verified at the end of the ceremony through guidance from the ceremony’s shaman facilitator.
The next step is a symbol of internal purification, a simple heart centre meditation. During this meditation the sound driver changes from the opening sacred flute music to religious chants. The sound of Gregorian or Blessing Way chants accompanies this stage of the ceremony. People are instructed to fill their lungs on the in-breath and visualize white light coming in to the middle of the chest, the heart center. I tell them:
“You can visualize this as light floating gently down to the area behind the sternum, or as a funnel of light coming directly into your chest from the Universe. If you do not visualize easily, then think the light coming into your heart center. Feel this white light as a gentle glow and take it through the heart center, inside the chest and throat, up to your crown. All this is on the in-breath. At the end of the in-breath, at the top of the crown, hold the breath for a moment with a thought. The thought is: “Send this light to every cell in my body.” Then on the out-breath imagine the white light moving from your crown, filling your entire body right down to the toes. Complete the breathing cycle by grounding the energy through your feet into the earth. Do this ten times until you feel something different in your body, a different sensation or a greater feeling of relaxation. Remain within the energy of the meditation for approximately ten breaths. If thoughts distract you from the process, simply come back to the focus and direction of breath, light and word.” This meditation is a centering vehicle, as it grounds the person in their body.
For the next stage of the healing journey, I introduce two drivers used in combination. The first breathing cycle begins: deep breaths – then explosive breaths – on to death breaths – and finally a pause. It is accompanied by a different sound to that of the chants used in the prior meditation. Changes in tone and rhythm intensify the driving effect of the breathing cycle. For the initial breathing cycle I use a tonal musical driver that has an insistent, repetitive beat, the electronic synthesizer music from Chariots of Fire for instance. After the first breathing cycle is finished, everybody relaxes their breathing during the pause and prepares for the next breathing cycle. The second cycle begins and the sound driver changes to chants of the Eternal OM mantra. The final cycle of breathing is to ten minutes of repetitive drumming, after which I take a small hand drum and play it over each individual so the rhythmic sound of the drum penetrates their whole being. Each breathing cycle is associated with distinct sound drivers, synthesizer music, OM mantra, drumming. Once the last breathing cycle is complete, normal breathing ensues.
The individual by this time should be extremely relaxed and in an altered state. It is at this point that the shamanic journey begins, which introduces extended symbolic imagery and a different sound driver. For the actual journey, the participants are accompanied by nature-based music that incorporates animal and birdcalls, and other sounds drawn from the world of nature. This is played softly. I use Dan Gibson’s “Algonquin Suite” as an appropriate tonal musical driver for the healing journey.
There are many variations to a shamanic journey, into the past, into the future, under the sea, into the earth, beyond time and space, and they can be guided or non-guided. The careful preparation leading up to the journey is to ground the person in their body. This care is essential so that past fears and future anxieties that arise during the shamanic journey can be dealt with from a solid foundation. I will document only one form of guided symbolic imagery and ask the reader to suspend disbelief sufficiently to accompany me on this journey. With the Algonquin Suite playing softly in the background I start to speak:
See yourself walking through a beautiful meadow, full of flowers. You hear the sounds of insects humming, and birds singing. The sun feels warm on your face and a slight breeze ruffles your hair. As you continue walking, look up into an endlessly clear blue sky and for a moment allow yourself to merge with it and enter such clarity. (Pause)
Notice a small shape hovering in the sky that gets bigger as it comes closer to you, and see a golden eagle slowly circling above you. He is your guardian and will watch over you and keep you safe on your journey. As you walk, the meadow slowly gives way to a river that runs over rocks before eddying into deep, still pools. Follow the bank of the river in the direction of the sun. There is a path to walk along. Notice the mallard ducks at the water’s edge with their ducklings, and a kingfisher sitting patiently on a branch overhanging a deep, still pool. The sun filters through the trees at the river’s edge and the light dances on the rocks and water like a crystal cloak that shimmers and moves with every swirl and eddy. (Pause)
Walking round a bend you see that the river runs from a clear lake fringed with forests, reflecting snow-capped mountains in its still surface. Find a spot by the side of the lake, sit down and enjoy the intimacy of nature that is around you. At the end of the lake you see a cow moose with her calf at the water’s edge. In the distance you hear wolves calling to one another, then you notice two rabbits beside a shrub close by. A doe and two fawns walk slowly and tentatively from the forest into the sunlight. Skylarks hover motionless in the sky then descend to earth with their lilting song. Your eyes are drawn to a stately blue heron standing motionless in the reeds at the lake’s edge. These creatures and more are there to remind you of your connection to the world of nature. Take a moment to be with the grass, the trees, animals, birds, insects, and bring to this place your favourite animals. (Pause)
Ask one of the creatures to accompany you on your journey and wait to see which one comes forward. It does not matter if none come forward, the golden eagle still circles overhead as your guardian. (Pause)
After sitting by the lake’s edge for a while, stand up and slowly walk into the water. It is icy cold, fed by glaciers from the snow-capped mountains. But it is a cold that is easily bearable because it purifies, stripping you of your anxieties, stress and worries. Slowly walk into the water up to your hips, your chest and then submerge yourself in the icy cold embrace of purification. Underwater you can breathe and move around with ease. Notice the rays of sunlight coming into the water, fish swimming swiftly past and see the rocks and submerged tree trunks on the lake floor. As you move around and adjust to the water you see a cave at the bottom of the lake and you swim strongly and powerfully to it and enter the cave. There is light at the end of a long underwater passage and you swim through and emerge out of the water into a cavern covered in crystals. The sound from the crystals shimmers through your body. At the edge of the cavern is a waterfall. Stand underneath it and feel the water washing over and right through your body. Feel the energy of the waterfall taking away any anxiety, tension and distress you may feel inside. (Pause)
Leave the cavern and follow a trail that takes you through a pine forest. Beautiful tall pines are on either side of you, stretching up into the sky. Take a moment and see the entire blue sky endlessly clear and enter such clarity. (Pause)
Then see how the forest opens up into a large clearing with a big flat rock in the centre. There is a fire prepared for you by the rock. As you warm your hands by the fire and feel its warmth on your face, you feel a presence next to you. Turning around you see a beautiful old woman with clear brown eyes that look right into you. She smiles in welcome and you feel she knows all about you and embraces you in a simple, heartfelt love. She is a very powerful healer and a wise shaman and is there on your journey to serve you. (Pause)
Standing next to her is a handsome old man, with weathered features and a gentle smile that lights you up. From his eyes you feel an overwhelming compassion and understanding. He is a very powerful healer and a wise shaman and is there on your journey to serve you. (Pause)
Between the old man and old woman is a young woman who sparkles. She is fresh, vibrant and beautiful, aglow with life’s vitality. She also greets you with a smile, and a love and understanding that you know is unconditional. She is the feminine source of Earth Wisdom and a lightning rod for your transformation. She knows very well the suffering and chaos of modern times. She is a very powerful healer and a wise shaman and is there on your journey to serve you, particularly if you are at the crossroads of new beginnings, ready to discard the old damaging tapes you run in your mind.Her power has an infinite depth and force. (Pause)
Know that these three shamans come from the deepest part of yourself and they represent your own powers of creativity and self-healing. The three shamans approach you and invite you to speak to them. Choose who you wish to communicate with, and talk to them about whatever distresses you; the anxieties of the day, the stresses at work and at home, then if you so wish, go deeper into your distress. Talk to them about growing up, the neglect and abuse you may have experienced, the isolation, separation and lack of understanding you encountered as a young person, adolescent and adult. Talk about the damage caused to you and the damage you may have caused others. Talk about the hatreds, angers and insensitivities you experience and perpetuate. You can say anything to these three shamans. They understand and love you and are there to heal you. Talk about whatever you feel free to communicate and feel the distress and trauma leaving your body. And when you run out of things to say, just be with their loving and supportive presence. For now, open up and speak to one of these immensely powerful shamans placed on your path. (Pause)
Ask each one of them if they would transfer their power of creativity, understanding and healing to your awareness. And of course they agree. Look into the eyes of each one of them in turn and feel the transfer of their healing power with a jolt or energy circulation within your body. Thank them for this gift then ask if you could speak to someone from the other side. Someone who has passed on that you did not have the opportunity to say what you wanted to say, or hear what you would have liked to hear. Wait and see if anyone comes and do not be disappointed if nothing happens. It is not the time. (Pause)
Take your leave of the three shamans. Thank them for their support, love and power of healing. Turning round you see a beautiful child surrounded with a golden aura. This golden child is you, without trauma, wounds or damage. The child comes directly to you and takes your hand, and leads you to a cliff edge where the beautiful golden eagle is waiting for you. He has been there as a guardian throughout your journey and is now ready to take you home. (Pause)
Ask your golden child if he or she wants to come with you, then climb onto the back of the eagle, and feel him take off from the ledge and soar high on the updrafts. Below you, see the mountains, lakes and forests of your journey. Smoke curls lazily skyward from the fire by the rock and as you fly with the eagle feel how beautiful this earth is. Then when you feel ready to do so, part from the eagle and fly on your own with your golden child next to you. With your arms spread wide as wings, catch the air currents and soar, then swoop low over the streams and mountains and enjoy the strength of flying on your own as your golden child merges with you as one unified being. (Pause)
Slowly fly back to the edge of the lake where you were sitting. Once again notice the animals, birds and insects and see how happy they are to see you again. Sit there for a time. (Pause)
Now see yourself sitting or lying down in the healing circle. Form a circle of brilliant white light around where you are sitting or lying down, then step through the light and slowly return to your body. Breathe deeply on the in-breath and deeply on the out-breath. As you breathe in, say quietly to yourself: “I have arrived.” As you breathe out, say quietly to yourself: “I am home.” Continue to do this breathing exercise for at least five minutes or until you feel “arrived” and “home” in your body.
After the safe return I conduct a final meditation with light. A tray of lighted candles is passed round the circle in a clockwise direction. Each person in turn, acknowledges the light and healing in the next person from the light and healing that is in them. The internal dialogue with the shamans at the rock is with the powerful inner material of creative self-healing that exists in everyone. Throughout the breathing cycles and journey other material from the depths of consciousness will surface. It is essential to be aware and dialogue with it, so the energy of trauma is steadily diminished. Participants are made fully aware that distress may come to the surface. These aspects of interior suffering cannot be left there on their own, as they may be dangerous and destructive both for the individual and others they will inevitably project onto. It is necessary to bring to the surface the awareness of mindfulness and the power of self-healing to take care of the trauma. Then an individual can begin to see deeply and take the steps to transform the energy of trauma. The final meditation with light acknowledges that there is more to consciousness than trauma, suffering, blockages and energy “sinks.” There are seeds of happiness, joy and grace that acknowledge the inherent Divinity within everyone. The acknowledgement in the final meditation nurtures these seeds in consciousness and creates a crucial finale to the healing journey.